[POP ROCK] There's an intriguing dichotomy at work with the Domestics, one that enhances each musical story of heartbreak and longing told by principal members Michael Finn and Leo London. On the Domestics' self-titled debut, the listener is treated to dueling perspectives, offering balance, a thickness of sound and, most important, a focus on the lyrics: "I wanna be your sparkler in the yard," Finn sings in opener "American Drag." "I wanna call you my national guard."

As a pop-rock outfit, the narrative spotlight is important. It's clean and compelling rock 'n' roll brought to higher, more memorable ground via the duo's seesawing singer-songwriter roles. Like Dr. Dog, the Domestics can seemingly change from track to track, sometimes within a single song. From "Jenny Says," a jangly number Lou Reed would have certainly endorsed, to the three-part wall of guitars on "It Came to Me," The Domestics serves gritty, real-life shit on a clean platter. The anguish of "Tower Blocks" reminds of Girls, while the finale, "What a Life," is a true rock ballad, a climactic, piano-and-guitar-led song that Elliott Smith might have liked to cover. Finn and London combine the pop sensibilities of many and the narrative detail of few. More impressive, the Domestics function as a two-headed animal, affording texture to each tale and its corresponding sound. 

SEE IT: The Domestics play Tender Loving Empire, 3541 SE Hawthorne Blvd., with Boone Howard, on Friday, July 17. 5:30 pm. Free. All ages.